5-2 Back to the Land of Hills and Taro

Some guys went net fishing.  That’s Ambae in the background.
I went back to Pentecost for 4 days. I was sent for official Peace Corps business, which means I didn’t get to chose where I was going, so I saw North Pentecost, but not my beloved Central. Maybe next time.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader, part of my job description says I should be doing site visits. Every year, each volunteer should be visited by a staff member. The visit is a forum for the community to discuss the PCV’s work, family situation and overall demeanor and for the PCV to address any issues they are having. Basically, it is the “are you doing your job?” check up. There are 65 PCVs currently in Vanuatu. Which hopefully means lots of traveling for me. I’m crossing my fingers anyway.
I followed Judy, a staff member, on her site visit to my friend Mike’s site. He lives in Nabarangiut, the village I visited way back in Christmas of 2010. Not many people recognized me, since I’ve lost weight and cut my hair. A few did though, which was fun.
The sun was strong, so they gave me an umbrella.  It makes sense here, I promise.
The official work happen on Thursday. We met with Mike and then with his community. It was an easy visit. His community’s main question was how they could get him to extend for another year. For complaints to have, that’s probably the best one I can think of. They also had questions about the water project he’s been working on, which is being funded through the grants that I’m on the committee for. Convenient. I spent awhile explaining the long and complicated road that their money had gone on to reach them and how it would be there soon. They were glad to hear it. I even got applause.
Baby Alex is now Toddler Alex.  And pretty cute.
Mike’s community felt bad for him trying to feed five people. I think they realized that was outside of his cooking capabilities. (There was another PCV visiting him and Judy brought her son.) So, the community set up a feeding rotation. They told us where to be for each meal and we showed up to massive feasts each time. I got my fill of water taro.
One of the places we dined was the previous PCV’s host family. Shortly before they left, a baby was born and named Alex in her honor. I took pictures of baby Alex to pass along to her. Then I took pictures of the village and the family, because they wanted me to pass those along, too. I will, because I hope that in a year or two someone sends me pictures of Vansemakul and the people there.
Mike is fearless about jumping in the waterfall.
We had enough time on Friday to cool off at the waterfall. It was the first time Troy, Judy’s son, had seen a waterfall. He’s a Vila boy. He got excited then freaked out and refused to come back in the water. I guess that’s how small children are. Mike on the other hand, had no fear and climbed around the top to jump in. Crazy man.
It was fun to visit Mike and see Maureen. I enjoyed a brief return to Pentecost. I wish I could have gotten down to Central. That would have made my month. Next time.

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